Norfolk

Edith Cavell £2 coin campaign goes to Treasury

Edith Cavell coin campaigners at the Treasury Image copyright PA
Image caption Edith Cavell was shot by a German firing squad in 1915

A 100,000-signature petition calling for World War One nurse Edith Cavell to be commemorated on a new £2 coin has been delivered to the Treasury.

Edith Cavell, from Norfolk, helped more than 200 Allied troops escape from German-occupied Belgium.

The petition was started after it was announced former war secretary Lord Kitchener would feature on a coin to mark the Great War's centenary.

Campaigners said the coins should also celebrate those who advocated peace.

Cavell, a vicar's daughter from Swardeston, near Norwich, spent months sheltering Allied troops in occupied Belgium and assisted them in escaping to the Netherlands.

But her actions broke German military law and, after she was caught, she was shot by a firing squad in 1915, aged 49.

Sioned-Mair Richards, from Sheffield, who launched the campaign, said Cavell "embodies that great quality of selflessness".

'Real role model'

"She would nurse anybody, regardless of their nationality, because that was the right thing to do," said Ms Richards.

"She paid the ultimate price for her heroism."

Following the war, her body was returned to Norfolk after a ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The campaign follows last year's successful petition to put author Jane Austen on the back of £10 notes after a public outcry that every banknote featured a man.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Edith Cavell's remains were escorted from from Dover to Westminster Abbey for the first part of her burial service in May 1919

Ms Richards joined relatives of the nurse in taking the petition to the Treasury.

Among them were Pip, 14, and Kit, 10, who are the great-grandsons of Cavell's cousin. Comedian and former nurse Jo Brand has also backed the campaign.

Pip said: "I think more kids should know who she is, because she is a real role model who put other people's lives before hers.

"I hope that the government will listen and commemorate my amazing relative."

A Royal Mint spokeswoman said it planned to produce a collection of coins over the next five years to mark the First World War.

But she would not confirm who would feature on them until they were formally unveiled.

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